Reviews by Leah A. Zeldes

The Diary of a Nobody

by George and Weedon Grossmith

"Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see--because I do not happen to be a 'Somebody'--why my diary should not be interesting. My only regret is that I did not commence it when I was a youth.


So Charles Pooter of The Laurels, Brickfield Terrace Holloway, commences his journal. A somewhat stuffy but very human senior clerk in an undescribed business, Pooter likes nothing better than to putter around his suburban home -- perhaps because of his ability to make high drama of trivial circumstances, and get himself into humiliating (and often very humorous) situations in front of other people.

I suspect this comic novel told in diary format will seem tame and rather dry to some modern readers, but to me it holds just much interest as the daily updates from some of my Facebook friends. Recommended.

Reviewed on 2014.03.31

One Basket

by Edna Ferber

Very moving and powerful short stories from the World War I era. Edna Ferber is one of the greatest, most underrated writers of the 20th century. Unfortunately, only seven of the 31 stories originally included in this anthology are present in this collection; what's here is definitely worth reading, however.

Reviewed on 2014.03.26

Call Mr. Fortune

by H.C. Bailey

As insouciant as Lord Peter Wimsey, to whom he appears to be a precursor, Reggie Fortune is a London doctor and crime solver. These stories start with his first case as a G.P. Later, he becomes a surgeon (hence "Mr." in English usage) and a regular consultant to Scotland Yard.

Fortune's medical knowledge plays a role in his deductions, but don't look for extensive forensic pathology a la Patricia Cornwall. If you enjoy Sayers-style English drawing room mysteries, Fortune will be up your alley.

It's a pity H.C. Bailey's works are out of print and so few available online.

Reviewed on 2014.03.26

Proteus Island

by Stanley Grauman Weinbaum

Stanley G. Weinbaum was one of the best of the pre-Golden Age science-fiction writers, and his work remains eminently readable. In this story, a zoologist marooned on a mysterious island near New Zealand discovers that its flora and fauna are distinctly and dangerously odd. There's a bit of Jane meets Tarzan in it, and some unlikely science, but it's all very plausible and a fun, fast read.

Reviewed on 2014.03.23

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